The Best Hidden Islands around the world vary in surrounding landscape, climate, and ease of access, but they all have one thing in common: awe-inspiring seclusion. From Florida to Fiji, these 11 hidden beach resorts are the off-the-beaten-track escapes your inner recluse needs.
Little Palm Island Resort & Spa, Florida Keys
While the Florida Keys is best known for tourist hotspots like Key West, the archipelago comprises more than 1,700 tropical islands. Most of them are tiny and uninhabited, but Little Torch Key is a 5.5-acre private island that has provided a quiet refuge for vacationing celebrities and presidents for years. Here, the only roads are made of crushed seashells, and you could go days without seeing another soul. Stay at the Little Palm Island Resort & Spa, a 30-bungalow hotel reachable via seaplane or boat. Once you arrive, don’t expect modern amenities like phones and TVs—the appeal here is all about disconnecting from the outside world, relaxing in a hammock with a cocktail in hand.
COMO Parrot Cay, Turks and Caicos
Turks and Caicos is made up of eight main islands and 40 smaller cays. The real challenge is discovering just which one is home to the exclusive COMO Parrot Cay, which requires a few modes of transport to reach it.
After flying into Providenciales International Airport, you have to drive to Leeward Marina, then hop on a 35-minute boat ride to the practically untouched private island covered by cactus.
Imagine over a thousand acres—plus a mile-long beach—where you won’t come across cars or streetlights (there’s a reason why fashion designers like Donna Karan chose to call this island home). Post up in one of the swanky beach villas like Point House, where you’ll have exceptional sunset views from your private beach cabana and black-lava stone pool and where your every wish is attended to by your very own butler.
Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita, Mexico
You don’t have to stray too far from Mexico’s bustling beach towns like Puerto Vallarta to come across your little piece of private beachfront paradise. Set on the northern tip of Bahía de Banderas, Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita is flanked by two eggshell-white sandy beaches with some of the best surf spots sitting just offshore. While you can swim to nearby coral reefs, we recommend hopping on board the Four Seasons yacht for a stylish way to cruise through the neighbouring Islas Marietas.
What started as a dream house for British author Ian Fleming (the man behind the James Bond series) has transformed into GoldenEye, a 49-room hidden beach resort on the northern coast of Jamaica. From the nondescript gate to the lack of any sign, you’d never guess this was where the author entertained the likes of Katherine Hepburn and Truman Capote back in the 1950s. Today, the rugged beach resort can be accessed directly by yacht from Oracabessa Bay or by a 25-minute helicopter ride from Montego Bay. Once you arrive, you’ll see why GoldenEye served as the inspiration for the legendary 007. Twenty-six new freestanding beach huts are hidden away in the lush landscape, just steps from a seafront bar with a rooftop lounge and secluded lagoons prime for snorkelling.
Coco Privé, Maldives
Live out your modern-day version of Robinson Crusoe with a private island takeover in the Maldives. A luxury yacht whisks you over to the North Malé Atoll, where you can claim Coco Privé as yours for the night. From the six-villa resort, it’s hard to get a wrong view since the turquoise Indian Ocean is on prime display from almost anywhere you look. Island encounters are tailor-made according to guests’ preferences, be it snorkelling among sea turtles with the resident marine biologist or discovering some of the most hidden parts of the Maldives by seaplane. The best part: everything is on your schedule. So, whether you want to eat at 9 a.m. or noon—or get a massage in your villa or by the beach—you’ll be well taken care of.
The Brando, French Polynesia
It’s easy to see why legendary actor Marlon Brando fell in love with Tetiaroa while shooting the 1962 film Mutiny on the Bounty. The private island, part of a French Polynesian atoll of the same name located 30 miles north of Tahiti, is a vision of natural beauty, from sparkling Mermaid Bay to the bike paths weaving through its forests of coconut palms and rare tropical plants. Only 35 thatched-roof villas make up this eco-chic resort, complete with their plunge pools, private yards, and bikes for exploring. Once you arrive by private plane, you’ll feel like you have the island all to yourself.
Annandale, New Zealand
Annandale isn’t a typical beach escape. Reaching this super-modern, one-bedroom retreat in rural New Zealand requires a helicopter or 4×4 transfer over clifftop farmland. Inside, expansive floor-to-ceiling glass windows allow for stunning views over the black pebble-strewn bay from the comfort of your platform-raised bed. Enjoy your lounge on the private terrace with a fireplace and glimpse dolphins and seals gliding through the water in the distance.
Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort, Fiji
The eco-friendly resort on Vanua Levu will surround you with mystical mountains and swaying palm trees. You are a quick hike away from a tropical playground of rainforests, waterfalls, and fresh-water pools. A seaplane charter from Nadi International Airport lands you right on the tip of the 17-acre property, which is set on a former coconut plantation. Thatched-roof bungalows skirt the shores of Savusavu Bay, where you can explore mangroves and pearl farms or cruise over to the resort’s private island, Naviavia, which will be yours for the day. How you want to spend that day—snorkelling or simply sipping champagne—is up to you.
andBeyond Mnemba Island, Zanzibar
Half the fun of staying at andBeyond Mnemba Island is the adventure you’ll have trying to reach it. After a 90-minute drive through Zanzibar’s spice plantations, you have to wade through knee-deep ocean water before hopping on a boat for the 20-minute ride over to the tiny island, which sits off Zanzibar’s northeast coast. You’ll feel like you’re the first one discovering this far-flung piece of paradise, where the scent of freshly baked coconut bread drifts from wood stoves and baskets loaded with fish and lobster and crab sail in daily on traditional double-outrigger canoes. Location is also one of the best places to scuba dive. From your home-away-from-home surrounded by tropical forests and white coral sand, you can look out and see the coral reef-lined Mnemba atoll, one of Africa’s top dive sites.
Saffire Freycinet, Tasmania, Australia
Walk into the water yourself and sample prized Pacific shellfish right in the wetlands where they’re sourced with white tablecloth included. At luxury lodge Saffire Freycinet, a two-and-a-half-hour drive along Tasmania’s scenic East Coast, this is just one way you can taste the best of this island state’s cuisine. Seafood slips right off local boats and onto plates at the aptly named restaurant Palate. The rest of the menu’s daily-changing ingredients are just as farm-to-table, from the hand-picked produce picked from farms down the street to mussels hailing from the nearby bay. Just as the cuisine connects to the local landscape, so does the lodge: panoramic suites overlook the bay, done up with furniture pieces by Ray and Charles Eames.
Fregate Island Private, Seychelles
Once a 17th-century pirate haven, Fregate Island sits four degrees south of the equator and is just one of 115 islands that make up the Seychelles archipelago. What makes this resort stand out from the rest is its blend of barefoot luxury and natural beauty, from the treehouse-style restaurant set in one of the island’s oldest banyan trees to the 16 hand-crafted residences spread across the jagged coastline’s low-hanging cliffs. If you’re looking for complete seclusion, spring for the Banyan Hill Estate, which sits on a hilltop on an isolated peninsula overlooking Fregate’s spectacular beaches.